Mazda’s 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship effort will see a renewed collaboration with AER as it debuts a new-generation, gasoline-powered engine in its Lola-based prototypes.
The pair of SpeedSource-run factory entries will make the switch from diesel to gasoline power this year, with the target of achieving podiums and race wins with the upgraded package.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo originates from the championship-winning MZR-R powerplant, which Mazda utilized with success in the American Le Mans Series from 2007 to 2012.
While the MZR-R powered Dyson Racing to ALMS LMP1 title in 2011, the engine — which Mazda has yet to announce its new designation — has gone through a further evolution, according to AER managing director Mike Lancaster.
“We are pleased to be working again with Mazda Motorsports in Prototype racing,” Lancaster said. “Working closely with Mazda and the SpeedSource team, we are prepared to support championship-caliber performances.
“AER’s previous Mazda sports car engines were designed for endurance racing reliability, and the new engine has built on that foundation.
“So we hope we’ll be able to help Mazda Motorsports and its team be competitive right from the start of the IMSA season with the Rolex 24 at Daytona.”
The new package has undergone significant testing and development, including tests at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America last summer, prior pre-season tests at both Sebring and Daytona.
All four of the team’s full-season drivers — Jonathan Bomarito, Tristan Nunez, Joel Miller and Tom Long — will return for 2016, with final livery and branding yet to be revealed for the rejuvenated effort.